Course Syllabus


This course covers hardware and software interface, real-time kernel internals, and implementation of high-level language constructs issues in real-time application software development. It is intended to give students insight into board-level hardware design and development, the hardware-software interface, and the structure and functionality of system software for embedded systems. It is also intended to give students insights into the challenges of real-time system development. This course is three credits.

Program Message 

This course is the final course in the Embedded Systems Certificate and is part of the Computer Engineering degree. It can also be taken as an elective provided you have taken the prerequisite.



ECEN 260 Microprocessor Based-System Design

Required Resources

This course does not have a required textbook. Students will be required to research, select, and purchase an embedded development system to use for the class project. The cost of these systems will range between $10–$500. The instructor will provide three chapters of the introductory text on Arduino. Students might want to purchase other texts that may have project helps or ideas, but these are not required.

The course materials consist of various pieces of hardware that we will use during the lab work. Details about where you can acquire these are listed in the Resources Table below.


Resources table
Resource Title/Description
(books, software, etc.)
Author/Provider Ed./Vol. 13-Digit ISBN (if applicable)
Nucleo L476RG (primary board used in labs) Link Hardware
Multi-function Shield (daughter board used in labs) Link Hardware
USB Logic Analyzer (debugging tool for labs) Link Hardware

ESP8266 NodeMCU (for final lab)

Note: you can get this in a 3 pack for nearly the same price if you search Amazon.

Link Hardware

Multimeter or Oscilloscope (OPTIONAL)

Note: you don't need to purchase one if you don't want to, but you will need access to a device that can read voltages at a minimum, ideally can read analog signals.

Link (USB scope, very useful, covers everything you need, including logic analyzer; ~$425 (I have one of these and they are AWESOME))

Link (portable scope, $50 - I have NOT used this before)

Link (inexpensive voltmeter)


Identity Verification, Projects, and Assessments

This course will not use an online proctoring software called Proctorio. Instead, you will have a group project that will be recorded on YouTube. You must make sure that your face and your name are provided in that video for accreditation purposes.

In addition to the group project, you have one Open Book, Open Note, untimed exam. It also is not proctored.


Course Outcomes (CO)

  1. Design and implement SW using RTOS principles
  2. Understand the design using a standard product life cycle
  3. Understand the various real-time operating system choices

Major Assignments


The greatest key assessment in this course is the group project. You will be working with a group of classmates beginning in Week 03 to design and build their projects. The culminating event is presenting the project. You may use GitHub or some other version control system to share code. The projects will be presented with your group and should be very polished—worthy of presenting to a potential employer or graduate school selection committee. Each student should have a role to play in the presentation, and the presentation should be well-rehearsed. You are encouraged to meet with the Presentation Practice Center for advice on creating this presentation and to practice it. Students will have the opportunity to see each other's presentations at the end of the semester.

Weekly Activities

The table below is meant to help you see the relevance of each major assignment as it pertains to the course outcomes (CO).

Weekly Activities
Major Assignment Description CO#
Labs The labs and project are the major emphases in this course. Through a series of "hands-on" projects, students will become very familiar with HW design and development, SW design and development, and the HW/SW interface. The labs build on each other. The initial lab will be a description of the final project that your team wishes to accomplish. The next lab will include the selection of a small microcomputer system for your project. Subsequent labs will include the SW design and development to run the microcomputer system.  1
Group Project You will be working with a group of students in an area that you choose to apply the principles in this class. You will be asked to help evaluate your team members. Your instructor will use this information and your finished project documentation to assign points in this area. 1, 2, 3
Exams There will be one exam. It is structured such that you can complete it in roughly one hour. You can spend additional time as you see fit. You can use any resource available to you as long as the exam reflects your work and your work alone. You will have as many attempts at the exam as you wish. 2, 3

Weekly Patterns

The table below displays typical weekly activities, due dates, and activity descriptions. 

Major Assignments
Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Midweek Study Readings/Presentation Narrated slide deck presentation on the weekly topic.  May also include material to read.
Midweek Teach One Another Developer's Forum Ask and answer questions on the developer's forum. These can be assignment and lab related, project related, or just about embedded systems in general.
Midweek Lab Work on Lab as described in the assignments.
Midweek Meet with Group Work on Project, report on progress and make plans (known as the Sprint) for the next week.
End of Week Sprints Complete your portion of the Sprint as determined in your group meeting.

*Set your time zone within user preferences so the dates and times for course activities will display correctly for your time zone.

Learning Model & Institutional Outcomes

There will be plenty of opportunities in this course to teach one another. This course aligns with BYUI's mission to develop disciple leaders in their homes and their communities. It also meets the institutional outcomes of becoming sound thinkers and skilled collaborators.



You can expect to receive grades and feedback within seven days of the due date for all assignments.


Each week you will have material to study, a lab to work through, material to do on your own for your group project, and then you will need to meet with your group. Typically students spend 6–9 hours a week working on this class.  

Group Work

Group Work is an integral piece of this course. Throughout the semester you will be working on a group project that will showcase your learning and will be presented at the end of the semester.

Late Work

As a sign of professionalism and respect, you should complete your work on time. However, your instructor has the discretion to accept late work or extend due dates as appropriate. 

Extra Credit

There is extra credit available the last few weeks of the course.

Grading Scale

Grade breakdown
Letter Grade Percent
A 100%–94%
A- 93.9%–90%
B+ 89.9%–87%
B 86.9%–83%
B- 82.9%–80%
C+ 79.9%–77%
C 76.9%–73%
C- 72.9%–70%
D+ 69.9%–67%
D 66.9%–63%
D- 62.9%–60%
F 59.9% and lower

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course does require synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

Refer to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due